Today, as health insurance companies across New Hampshire have planned to raise individual health insurance rates by 12 to 17 percent, Paul Hodes called for an investigation into the sky-high compensation packages handed out to executives at health insurance companies. Hodes has called for documents to be turned over that are related to executive compensation and premium rate hikes that continue to pummel middle class families and small businesses in New Hampshire.
"While New Hampshire's middle class families continue to be smacked with higher and higher premiums, executive salaries continue to skyrocket out of the realm of sanity," said Hodes. "If insurance premiums continue to rise simply because executives are being lavished with Wall Street-style salaries and perks, Granite Staters deserve to know."
Hodes has called on Congressional investigators to look into the practices of some of the largest insurance companies to see whether or not there is a link between outsized executive compensation plans and continually rising health insurance premiums. In New Hampshire, WellPoint intends to increase individual health insurance premiums by 12 to 13 percent this year. This comes on the heels on the 17 percent increase WellPoint has tacked onto the premiums in the Granite State's small groups market.
Full text of the Hodes investigation request is below:
I request that you subpoena executive pay information from the health insurance plans that participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). I urge you to demand any documents related to premium increases and pay and bonuses for top insurance executives.
Health insurance premiums for families are skyrocketing as families are struggling to pay their mortgage and put food on the table. Middle class families in New Hampshire are struggling with sharp double-digit rate increases for their health insurance plans.
These same companies that are raising rates for families across the country also participate in the FEHBP and contract with the federal government. While Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Hampshire contracts with the federal government, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has also raised its rates by 17 percent for New Hampshire's small businesses just this year. WellPoint, Anthem's parent company, paid its executives over $347 million in 2007 and 2008. Over 39 executives earned more than $1 million each. At the same time, WellPoint has sent its employees on over 100 executive retreats, costing over $27 million.
It is disgraceful that while these insurance companies are spending lavishly on company retreats and executive pay, New Hampshire's families are going broke just for the opportunity to see a doctor. Insurance company executives should not be permitted to increase rates on the shoulders of America's middle class families and small businesses.
It is also outrageous that the same companies that participate in FEHBP can rate gouge New Hampshire's families. As the federal government continues to contract with insurance companies across the country, the federal government has the right to know whether the increase in premiums is related to an increase in executive pay.
I urge you to subpoena documents related to premium increases, bonuses and executive retreats. The American people have a right to know whether their premiums are paying for their health care or their health insurance company's Wall Street-style bonuses and perks.